More and more of us are looking for fun ways to get away from our screens and there's a whole new era of board games that bring something new to the table — whether it's a two-player, tabletop or family game you're looking for.
From drinking games to strategy showdowns and some not-so-trivial-pursuits, we've ranked 10 of the best board games for adults to keep you and your family (or friends) entertained. We've made sure there are some two-player options for those with a partner or housemate too and all of our picks are available from Amazon, John Lewis and Argos. We're certain that some of these first-rate games for grown-ups are bound to become all-time classics!
Benjamin is a writer of fiction and occasional video-game reviewer. He gained his MA in English Literature from Birmingham City University, where he was the editor for The Student Anthology. Though his main enjoyments are reading, writing, music and gaming, he has time for anything that tickles his fancy.
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Benjamin is a writer of fiction and occasional video-game reviewer. He gained his MA in English Literature from Birmingham City University, where he was the editor for The Student Anthology. Though his main enjoyments are reading, writing, music and gaming, he has time for anything that tickles his fancy. Learn more about him and his blogs from here.
Party games are social board games, perfect for get-togethers with your friends, family or even new acquaintances. These fast-paced and amusing games are usually designed for multiple players, with some even allowing for team showdowns.
Some of the best party games are ones that have players going head-to-head doing something silly — which can also be a great way to get to know new people better. So look out for ones that include some form of humorous challenge or dare, especially if you're making a night of it!
There's nothing better than playing a game involving everyone and encouraging interaction between people. Some board games, especially those that focus more on strategy, can be fun for some people but may reduce the amount of time people spend talking to each other.
The sign of a great party game allows people to chat amongst themselves whilst playing. That means a game that doesn't require too much attention or doesn't have a steep learning curve.
Do you have the gift of the gab, a vast vocabulary, a talent for terminology? Then perhaps a word game is the one for you! If the answer is not so much but you love a bit of a challenge and an excuse to get those cogs turning, then you're sure to enjoy this kind of game too.
Word games can be word association, trivia or even question and answer games. If you're looking for a board game to play on a date or at a social gathering with people you don't know so well — word games are excellent ice breakers. Just don't get tongue-tied!
If you're in a situation where the board game is the tool for getting to know the person you're with, you must choose a game that specifically encourages interaction and communication.
The Codenames series of games is excellent for this, as it involves guesswork, leading to amusing situations. Even older, more simplistic games like Bananagrams can be helpful here as they allow for a time-out. What I mean by that is, they're not difficult to pick up again if you've been chatting.
Strategy games are all about outsmarting your opponent. If you enjoy a mental challenge, look for games that require careful planning and tactics to succeed. Gameplay-wise, some follow fairly straightforward rules with multiple move variations and outcomes, while others are quite complex. So, there are plenty of options to choose from, for whatever your preference or age of the group.
Escape room games are a popular team-building option, but did you know that there are also table-top escape room board games available too? Perfect if you enjoy the challenges of an escape room from the comfort of your own sofa!
Some longer strategy games can take all night to complete, and whilst that's fine, it's not OK if the rest of the group weren't aware. I've played plenty of board games where people start getting bored when the action dwindles.
Ask your friends what type of game they'd like to play and how much time they have before introducing them to your favourite. There will also be long periods of silence where people are making decisions, so it's also wise to choose a game with a theme that's interesting to everyone.
Every game has a minimum and maximum number of players. No one likes being left out, but equally having too few players means you won't be able to play the game properly. So, make sure to check before buying to avoid disappointment.
Board games are generally a social activity, therefore the majority require at least two people to play, although there are some that can be played solo. If you're not just playing one-on-one, there are games suitable for groups of 4, 6, 8 and even more too.
Board game developers have a team of staff whose task is to test games based on various parameters. One such parameter is player count. That doesn't mean you shouldn't play outside of their recommendations. Some board games, such as Gloomhaven, are flexible. It recommends 1-4 players, meaning it can be played alone and with other people.
Whereas some games are pretty limited. That said experiment. Don't rely solely on what the box says; run your test. You can start by adding or subtracting one player to see its effect on the game. The experiment might work.
It may be useful to consider approximately how long a board game will take to complete so you can decide on the perfect occasion to enjoy it with your friends — as there are few things worse than starting a juicy new game late in the evening that you aren't able to finish!
If you're just looking to pass a bit of time on a rainy afternoon or want something to loosen people up and get the party started, shorter 15 to 30-minute games are ideal. However, if you want to make an evening of it, longer length games that take over 60 minutes will give players something to really sink their teeth into!
If you're looking for other games to really get stuck into legacy board games are a great idea.
If you buy various board games, you're more likely to have the suitable game for the right moment. By broadening my collection of games, I had a better choice when more friends turned up. Try board games you don't think you'll like as well. It sounds counterintuitive, but you may find that the company of your friends makes certain games more enjoyable.
Some games can be played straight out the box while others require extra gear like a pad of paper or stopwatch, and you won't want to cut into precious game time scrabbling around looking for a pen!
Also, remember that board games with electronic parts don't always come with batteries included, so ensure you read the product description carefully before buying (or make sure you have time to get any extras if need be).
When you open a board game for the first time, count all pieces and cross-reference them against the instruction manual. There are occasions when pieces may be missing that prevent the game from being played. The last thing you'd want is you start playing the game only to realise you can't continue.
Sometimes a missing piece isn't that essential, and if it's something you're not fussed about or it doesn't impact the game, the hassle of exchanging it can sometimes be more annoying than keeping it.
Presumably, most of you reading this article are over the age of 18 and are seeking games suitable to play with other adults. However, some may also be in the market for something appropriate for youngsters to play, too. There are a number of great versatile games out there that are guaranteed to go down just as well at family get-togethers as on games night with your mates!
That said, always check the age recommendation supplied by the manufacturer. Some more mature games can get a bit raunchy or can involve drinking, while others that are not necessarily inappropriate in content may be too complex for younger kids.
Here are some more family-friendly board games to choose from!
Age ratings are there for a reason, and they're pretty accurate in their estimations. If you attempt to introduce someone to a game that doesn't meet the age requirement, there's a good chance they'll struggle with its complexity. Be mindful, though and use your judgement:
You can watch videos on YouTube to ascertain beforehand whether or not it will be suitable for a specific person you want to play with. Some people can comprehend the rules easier than others, so a game that is too difficult for one person may not be so difficult for someone else.
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Scrawl Adult Board Game | Terrible Drawings and Ridiculous Guesses
A Drawing Game for People Who Can't Draw
Settlers Of Catan
A Classic Game for Those Who Enjoy Games About Strategy, Tactics and Trading
Film Fans' Favourite Nostalgic Trivia Game
Articulate - The Fast Talking Description Board Game
The Ultimate Lively and Loquacious Wordplay Game That'll Get Conversations Flowing
Big G Creative
Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents
A Creative Drawing Game for Aspiring Artists
An Espionage-Themed Guessing Game Perfect for Team Building
The Perfect Boozy Board Game for Adults
A Gripping Tabletop Dungeon Crawler Great for Repeated Play
Monopoly Socialism Board Game
An Anti-Capitalist Parody of a Beloved Board Game
Very British Problems
A Self-Deprecating Game for Awkward Brits
Always being one-upped at Pictionary? Well, welcome to Scrawl — the drawing game for people who can't draw! Each player begins with a scenario card, which they must draw and pass on to the player on their left whose best guess is it to what the heck is going on. The next player then attempts to depict the new description. Easy!
Did we mention the scenarios are all utterly bizarre? Have a go depicting scenes such as 'eating spiderwebs' or 'flea jousting' — it can only go downhill from here! Fairly priced with everything included, it had to be our number one choice. Sure to become a new classic with anyone who's up for a laugh.
An absolute classic, Settlers Of Catan is all about tactics and trading. In this game, players are tasked with building settlements on the island of Catan. But, in order to gain the resources required to build your settlement, you must barter with other players to get what you need.
While the roll of the dice lends an element of chance — those with a keen intuition, a strategic mindset and a silver-tongue are sure to prevail! It also means the game can be played many, many times with different outcomes with each go.
Remember Blockbuster Video? The days of video rental shops may be long past, but with this movie-based board game, you can relive the glory days of a bygone era of home entertainment.
Blockbuster combines movie trivia and charades in a frantic and fast-paced party game for film buffs of all ilks. Before you start, make sure to have a couple of AAA batteries on hand for the buzzer — unless you fancy adding an extra level of difficulty by shouting "BUZZ" each time you have the answer!
Articulate is the game for the garrulous. In this quick-fire board game, players are given a mere 30 seconds to name as many words from a particular category as possible. So, if you fancy yourself a bit of a wordsmith we definitely recommend giving this one a go.
The fast-paced rounds prevent the game from feeling laborious, making it a good choice for larger gatherings and parties. Providing you have a minimum of four players — the more the merrier, and you can even split into teams to up the ante!
Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents is the game in which you transform abstract shapes and squiggles into Tate-worthy works of art. OK, so maybe you’re not the next Monet, but this drawing-based board game is a ton of fun for anyone who likes to dabble in a little creativity.
Using the prompts, players must turn their assigned scribble into something somewhat recognisable. At the end of each round, players vote for their favourite drawings and the one with the most votes wins. And don't worry about running low on supplies — as drawing paper, markers, and a timer are included!
A great choice for team building days, Codenames is an espionage-themed guessing game that relies on razor-sharp communication and problem-solving.
Players split into two teams, allocating a Spymaster, who knows the secret identities of all 25 agents. However, their teammates can only see their code names, and essentially, the first team to identify all of the agents wins. It's also suitable for players from 10 years + and makes a great family game, too.
What would a list of adult boards game be without at least one drinking game? If you're familiar with the rules of Monopoly and you like to drink — then you're all set on how to play Drinkopoly!
All you need is a shot glass, a few friends and your favourite bevvies to enjoy a series of hilarious tasks as you move your pawn around the game board. Just make sure you choose to play this with friends who are comfortable with drinking alcohol — and, of course, remember to always drink responsibly.
Best described as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” tabletop dungeon crawler, Gloomhaven has you battle against monsters using a turn-based card system. With a complex, branching storyline best played over several sessions — you’re going to want to seriously dedicate some time to this one!
For those seeking a challenge, Gloomhaven is a gripping tactical cooperative combat game that can even be played solo. While certainly not cheap, it does have a lot of replay value. So if it seems like your sort of thing, give it a go.
In this anti-capitalism parody game, Monopoly Socialism takes the rules of Monopoly and turns them on their head. Instead of buying property, players work together to fund community-based projects. Pass GO and everyone receives 50 from the bank, 5 of which is to be immediately paid to the Community Fund!
Although a little controversial and arguably not quite as fun as the original — it's a thoughtful and intriguing take on the Boxing Day classic for anyone who enjoys a bit of political satire.
Based on the hit Channel 4 show by the same name, Very British Problems is the quintessential game for awkward Brits. This board game tests how well you know your friends through a series of questions designed to out your inner Britishness.
In essence, it's an uncomplicated game full of self-deprecating humour and ideal for horrifying your international friends! It's affordable and comes with wipe-clean boards and pens which is handy — but the subject matter makes it more of a novelty game than one you'd play regularly.
Leave your comfort zone and try a game you might not be able to picture yourself playing. You'll be surprised how your preferences change when you start testing different board games. When I first started playing, I was frightened to commit time to renowned games for how long they take to complete.
Admittedly, I initially struggled with what seemed to be complex instructions -- the booklet is relatively thick -- but was pleased how easy it was to understand once I'd started playing. Don't let the mature theme put you off.
Written and researched by Wren Mann
No. 1: Big Potato｜Scrawl Adult Board Game | Terrible Drawings and Ridiculous Guesses
No. 2: Esdevium｜Settlers Of Catan
No. 3: Big Potato ｜Blockbuster Game
No. 4: Drumond Park｜Articulate - The Fast Talking Description Board Game
No. 5: Big G Creative｜Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents
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